ABSTRACT

The third and final strategy in the supranational institutions’ efforts to boost EU enforcement consisted of the independent creation of new means of supervision. Perceiving centralized “police-patrol” enforcement as limited in its capacity to secure adequate compliance, and decentralized “fire-alarm” enforcement as holding the promise of more efficient and effective supervision, the supranational supervisors independently initiated a gradual shift toward the latter in the late 1980s. Through a string of important decisions, the ECJ laid down principles and requirements, strengthening the hand of individuals wishing to enforce their EU rights in national courts. In parallel, the Commission launched policy initiatives aimed at ameliorating weaknesses in the existing structure of decentralized enforcement.